An image of a lightbulb laying on a utility bill

Some days it can be tough to know where to start for assistance if you have been devastated by severe weather or bushfire events and need to start the building blocks of life again. As well as contacting your insurance provider if you have one, there is help and support available from Government departments, and some communications

and energy providers to restore vital services that you need.

Australian Government Disaster Assistance

Disaster Recovery Payment
Support for people directly affected by bushfires in disaster declared areas.

See this website for NSW Government Support including grants, allowances and factsheets.

In Victoria, you may be eligible for Flexible Support funding for material aid, and access to services such as emergency accommodation, mental health services, food and clothing etc.

• First Nations Aboriginal Service Response, which includes case management and case coordination. See Victorian Bushire Case Support Program for more information on the program. There is also a Bushire Clean-up Program operating in the state. The Personal Hardship Assistance Program (PHAP) hotline 1800 961 054 is available 9–5 pm, seven days per week where eligible payments are available for emergency relief to help meet immediate needs of households, including emergency food, shelter, clothing and personal items.

See also Disaster Relief Grants - for household contents and structural repairs

The Victorian Government have set up a new department Bushfire Recovery Victoria to assist residents of their state.

1800 560 760
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@BushfireRecoveryVIC

For more references in your state see Services Australia

Getting communications and power back up and running is an important step to undertake, below we outline some of the major telecommunications provider strategies, and energy provider initiatives to assist customers.

Telephones

Telstra

Telstra offer bushfire relief to affected residential and small business customers in New South Wales. Telstra’s assistance package includes access to free and interim services during the recovery period, in addition to providing the broader community with free calls and free Telstra Air Wi-Fi through local payphones. For more information on postcodes that have assistance packages available see Providing Bushfire Relief to NSW Customers.

Telstra customers may have access to both long and short term measures depending on their circumstances and severity of loss or damage to premises, so please see the above article for further information on what assistance is available.

For Telstra customers in Victoria see Victoria Bushfire Assistance

In Queensland, Telstra Customers see Bushfire Assistance to Queensland

SA Telstra Customers should visit Bushfire relief package South Australia

Optus

In the following Media Release dated 7th January 2020 Optus released a range of initiatives for customers, firefighting volunteers, and staff, as a result of the bushfire crisis, with a dedicated customer hotline established for those affected by the bushfires (Ph: 1300 301 671).

Vodaphone customers see Vodafone Bushfire Support Pages

Dodo customers see Dodo Bushfire Relief Information

Electricity and Gas

Another vital service in the step to reconnecting the following is information available to customers. Contact your provider if you have any questions or concerns. Links are below for the major service providers, or you can ask our Information Officers to assist you find details on assistance your supplier has available.

The Australian Energy Regulator has produced the following publication in regards to Medical equipment. Life Support Brochure.

Essential Energy – For information on provisions, see the following Media Statement

Red Energy

Red Energy has expanded its financial assistance and is providing more help with the following supports:

a $200 bill credit for all volunteer firefighters who are Red Energy customers (regardless of where they live);

a $200 bill credit for all Red Energy customers who have been impacted by the fires;

completely waiving energy and gas bills for any Red Energy customers who have lost their home, property or business to the bushfires, and

free meter installation for affected customers, there is no charge when they are ready to have their supply reconnected.

Any customers in bushfire-affected areas should call the Red Energy Customer Care Team at their convenience on 131 806 to have their bill credited.

Origin Energy

Origin Energy customers experiencing financial difficulties can request a payment extension online through their account login or can connect via the contact section of the website. For longer-term relief, there is dedicated hardship assistance available. See Support for Bushfire Affected Communities

In a media statement on 5th January  Origin chief executive officer, Frank Calabria said.

“We encourage anyone who needs help with their account to contact us for assistance”.

ACTEW AGL

Gas - https://www.evoenergy.com.au/

For Life Support equipment 

Energy Australia

For Energy Australia customers who have lost their homes or small businesses, Energy Australia will waive any monies owing on accounts. A priority assistance line is available to customers who have lost their homes or had to evacuate. Customers can call 1800 120 084. For further initiatives offered by Energy Australia see Support for Bushfire Affected Communities

Alinta

Supports for faults and Bushfire Emergencies

Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme 

Extra supports are available under the following circumstances:

  • If you had to travel a longer route due to road closures or other weather conditions, you could be eligible for additional travel subsidies. Please include information about your travel route in your application.
  • If you had to stay in accommodation for additional time due to road closures or other weather conditions, you could be eligible for additional accommodation subsidies. Please include tax invoices and any relevant information in your application
  • If you are experiencing financial hardship, you should contact IPTAAS to discuss payment options.

See IPTAAS for more information

Housing

Bushfire Housing Assistance Service NSW

For NSW residents temporarily or permanently displaced due to the NSW bushfires, The NSW Government Bushfire Housing Assistance Service is available.

The Bushfire Housing Assistance service can help with:

  • emergency temporary accommodation
  • private rental bonds and advance rent costs
  • sourcing accommodation options from the private rental and short term housing sector.

People impacted by the fires can access the service by:

  • calling the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line (DWAL) on 1800 018 444; or
  • contacting or visiting a local Department of Communities and Justice Housing office.

For more information about the Bushfire Housing Assistance Service, visit: Bushfire Housing Assistance Service To find a local Department of Communities and Justice Housing office, visit: Find a housing office


Information Sourced From

ACTEW AGL
Alinta Energy
Bushfire Recovery Victoria
Disaster Assistance NSW
Dodo
Emergency NSW
Energy Australia
Evo Energy
IPTAAS
Optus
Origin Energy
Red Energy
Services Australia
The Australian Energy Regulator
Vodafone